All Soldiers Run Away Andy Owen My review of “All Soldiers Run Away,” which was released today, is below. You can read my very interesting interview with Andy Owen about writing the book and about war, literature, and PTSD here and my review of his novel “East of Coker” here. Some soldiers are heroic. But […]Read more "“All Soldiers Run Away” by Andy Owen"
Recently author Brian Van Reet and I had a long chat about art, war, life–pretty much everything. In Part I of our conversation we discussed, among other things, the process of literary creation, the military-civilian divide, and feasibility of reinstating the draft. The continuation of our conversation is below. EPC: I think it can be hard […]Read more "My Chat with Veteran and Author Brian Van Reet About Literary Creation and Military Service, Part II"
We Shall Ne’er Be Younger: Silver Chronicles Book One Mary Ellen Woods Recently widowed Emily is looking for a boyfriend (definitely NOT a husband–been there, done that!). Recently divorced Mike is looking for, ah, some female companionship. When they are introduced at a party, sparks fly. But does their relationship have enough of a slow […]Read more "“We Shall Ne’er Be Younger” by Mary Ellen Woods"
The New Literary War Hero of Chechnya, Iraq, and Afghanistan Image from “Ninth Company,” dir. Fyodor Bondarchuk When I began reading and writing about contemporary Russian war prose, especially connected to the Chechen wars, I thought that the Russian/Chechen experience, and the literature coming out of it, was unique. And of course the Chechen wars […]Read more "My Chat with Veteran and Author Andy Owen about War, Literature, and PTSD, Part II"
The New Literary War Hero in the Age of the Global War on Terror (Image from the film “Captive,” dir. Aleksey Uchitel) While this blog was originally focused mainly on my side hustle job of writing and reviewing fantasy, readers may have noticed a certain focus on matters military in recent posts, as in my […]Read more "My Chat with Andy Owen About War, Literature, and PTSD, Part I"
The Lonely Soldier Helen Benedict If you still harbor any starry-eyed illusions about the Iraq war as a noble endeavor, or of the military as a welcoming place for women, this book will dispel them. Focusing largely on the experiences of a fairly diverse group (two white, one Mexican-American, one African-American, one Native American, all, […]Read more "“The Lonely Soldier” by Helen Benedict"
American Sniper Chris Kyle “We were slaughtering them,” brags Chris Kyle, America’s most prolific sniper, in his bestselling memoir that spawned the hit movie directed by Clint Eastwood. The “them” here refers to Iraqi insurgents, of whom Kyle killed close to 200, something he attributes largely to luck and being in the right place at […]Read more "“American Sniper” by Chris Kyle"
I Am a Chechen! In “I am a Chechen!” German Sadulaev pulls together a set of stories, based heavily on his own biographical experiences, about the Chechen conflicts. Fragmentary, lyrical, in turns desperate and magical, and often non-linear, this collection follows in the tradition of Russian writers such as Lermontov and Babel, taking bare biography […]Read more "“I Am a Chechen!” by German Sadulaev"
“It’s very frightening,” Babchenko tells us, “that the war is in color.” Not black-and-white, like the heroic WWII movies he and his fellow soldiers had grown up on, but in the brilliant colors of the beautiful Caucasus mountains, where not one but two appallingly brutal wars have been fought in the past two decades. In […]Read more "“One Soldier’s War” by Arkady Babchenko"
In “Zinky Boys,” Alexievich weaves together interviews with those who have been affected by the Soviet war in Afghanistan–soldiers, yes, but also doctors and nurses, civilian contractors, and, most tragically of all, the mothers and widows left behind–to create a document that is heartbreaking, harrowing, and utterly damning. Those who ended up in Afghanistan did […]Read more "“Zinky Boys” by Svetlana Alexievich"